As soon as your flight to Christchurch touches down at Christchurch International Airport, it becomes clear why the city is known as the Garden City.
From above, it’s easy to see just how many wide-open green spaces dot the landscape, centered around Hagley Park in the middle of the city. And bisecting the scenery is the lovely Avon River, whose waters have historically provided the means to keep Christchurch blooming.
Christchurch is the largest city on New Zealand's South Island and the center of its adventure sports industry. When you consider how much the Kiwis (as the country’s residents are called) love the outdoors, that’s really saying something.
Christchurch truly is a paradise for the sporty, and a huge range of activities are easily accessible just a short trip from downtown, from skiing and golf to bungee jumping, mountain biking, wind surfing, rafting, and more. If you’re content to simply watch, there are hot-air balloon rides and whale-watching tours too.
That being said, you don't go to Christchurch just to leave Christchurch. The city has a charm all its own, and you could have a wonderful vacation sticking to the city center—staying in its luxury boutique hotels, sipping espresso in its wonderfully cute cafes, dining in its five-star restaurants, and enjoying the relaxing, friendly environment that the locals pride themselves on creating.
Hagley Park is a picturesque public space where art projects pop up out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. Outdoor concerts are popular in the summer, with AMI Stadium playing host to artists from around the world, and the older world exists, too, witnessed in beautiful cathedrals.
Christchurch has a well-deserved reputation as an adventure and party center, and you don't have to look too hard to find either. But there's also a sense of refinement to the city, a cosmopolitan feel that makes it one of the best destinations in New Zealand.